newsletter No Peace Without Justice, II-2014

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February 2014
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
Managing Editor: Alessandro Manno

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The “No Peace Without Justice Human Rights Award” 2014

We are delighted to share the news that the “No Peace Without Justice Human Rights Award” will be held on 3 March 2014 iRome, at the Sala Zuccari of the Italian Senate of the Republic, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sergio Stanzani, President of No Peace Without Justice and of the Radical Party, who recently passed away.
The Award ceremony will be opened by the President of the Italian Senate, Piero Grasso, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino.  Following the ceremony, a press conference will be held at NPWJ headquarter, Via di Torre Argentina 76.

The Award aims to support those fighting in Italy and around the world for the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. The Award provides political recognition, and does not have a monetary value. It will be awarded in two categories: one for activities carried out in Italy and one for activities carried out at the international level.

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Bahraini Uprising’s third anniversary: accountability for past and present human rights violations must take centre stage

During the months of February and March 2011, the Government of Bahrain met a series of demonstrations and popular demand for reform with violent assaults by armed forces towards peaceful protesters, extra-judicial detentions, imprisonment and the use of torture against demonstrators in detention.
Three years on, and despite the King of Bahrain’s acceptance without reservation of recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November 2011, the regime in Bahrain has failed to deliver any meaningful reform program. Worse, it continues to suppress peaceful dissent and denies to a majority of Bahrainis their fundamental rights on a daily basis.  This campaign of repressive and retaliatory practices has recently expanded further to encompass leading opposition figures engaged in the ongoing National Consensus Dialogue process.
If the Government of Bahrain is sincere about reform, it should release immediately all remaining prisoners of conscience, cease the intimidation and mistreatment of Human Rights Defenders, establish credible accountability mechanisms to address past violations and to prevent continuing abuses and therefore break the prevailing culture of impunity, and cooperate fully with the human rights monitoring mechanisms of the United Nations and its Special Rapporteurs.

Justice and peace are integral elements of a democratic system and the international community has a responsibility to ensure that the Bahraini authorities do not persist in this “smoke screen” strategy rather than complying with their obligations. This means supporting those political forces inside Bahrain in their nonviolent and tireless quest for democracy, rule of law and respect of fundamental human rights.

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Syria / Geneva II Conference: NPWJ adresses open letter to the UN Permanent Representatives

On the eve of the resumption of the “Geneva II” negotiations, Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary-General No Peace Without Justice, wrote and open letter to the Permanent Representatives to the UN of the participating countries and International Organisations, in order to raise some points that of critical importance to the success of the negotiations and to bettering the situation for the people of Syria.
Despite several UN Security Council Resolutions, relevant decisions of the Human Rights Council, and the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 which have put a strong emphasis on accountability and made clear that there should be no impunity for the most serious crimes under international law, we are facing a humanitarian catastrophe and a political debacle which need to be addressed promptly and decisively.

The main priorities on which all parties should focus during the Geneva II  negotiations are as follows:  1. adoption of a Declaration of Commitment to the core obligations of International Humanitarian Law and the fundamental principles of humanitarian assistance; 2. agreement on immediate arrangements for the entry of adequate and unfettered humanitarian assistance in all besieged areas to ensure the protection of fundamental rights of all Syrian citizens - regardless of their geographical location, creed and gender; 3. agreement on an immediate full demilitarisation of schools and hospitals to ensure that these primary public are preserved and restored.

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Bangladesh: International Lawyers submit evidence to ICC Prosecutor over serious crimes allegedly committed by government forces

Today an application was submitted to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting an immediate investigation into crimes allegedly committed in Bangladesh by different arms of the Government against the civilian population. The application was submitted, pursuant to article 15(2) of the Rome Statute, by lawyers from the London-based Chambers of 9 Bedford Row International, on behalf of the International Coalition for Freedom and Rights.
It outlines information about widespread and arbitrary arrests of opposition activists, continued extra-judicial killings, torture in police custody and enforced disappearances committed by the Bangladeshi security and armed forces prior, during and after the recent disputed elections of 5 January 2014 which marked a turbulent period of political upheaval.  

Commenting on the communication submitted to the ICC Prosecutor, Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice, said: “The Bangladesh ICC communication clearly demonstrates that for all the criticism that the ICC has been facing over the last year, Article 15.2 remains one of the most important guarantees of the Court’s independence. Whenever a situation develops where crimes under international law are being committed on the territory or by nationals of a State Party, the ICC constitutes the last bastion for redress.” 

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 NPWJ events

The Radical Party convenes an international conference on "Raison d'état" and Human Rights at the European Parliament

On 18-19 February 2014, the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty , together with Hands off Cain and No Peace Without Justice, and with the support of the ALDE Group at the European Parliament and the European Commission, convened a high level political and academic meeting on international issues of great political urgency: respect for the Rule of Law at the national and international level, against the resurgence of the "raison d'état". The objective was to develop proposals that may bring the vast majority of democratic UN Member States back in line with international legality.
Particular emphasis was put on the "Right to Know", also understood as the "Right to Truth", with reference to the various laws on "freedom of information", as well as the example of the British Commission chaired by Sir John Chilcot, and other official and unofficial inquiries into the Iraq War and its implications today.

Among those who endorsed Marco Pannella's initiative, launched at the end of 2013: Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission; Elio Di Rupo, Prime Minister of Belgium; Emma Bonino, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs;  Frank Kargbo, Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone; Marou Amadou, Minister of Justice and Spokesman of the Government of Niger; Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberal-democrats at the European Parliament and former Belgian Prime Minister; Louis Michel, Member of the European Parliament and former European Commissioner; Bernard Kouchner, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs;  Sam Rainsy, leader of the Cambodian opposition; Kok Ksor, leader of the Montagnard of Vietnam; Bakhtiar Amin, former Minister for Human Rights of Iraq.

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Syria: NPWJ concludes second Training Course on “Forensic Investigations of Cases of Political Violence and the Disappeared”

Accountability and redress for past and ongoing human rights violations committed against the civilian population must be put on the central stage if there is to be any hope for reaching lasting stability, reconciliation and peace in Syria. To that end, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) is supporting the efforts and enhancing the capacity of Syrian civil society groups, human rights and democracy activists to document and report on crimes and abuses committed in Syria, including with a view to laying the foundation for future criminal investigations and prosecutions.

As part of that work, NPWJ organised, in Gaziantep, Turkey, a training course on “Forensic Investigations of Cases of Political Violence and the Disappeared for Syria”, on 11-14 February 2014, together with Assistance Cooperation Unit (ACU), the Violations Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC) and the Kirkayak Art Center, and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  This course is the second implemented by NPWJ on forensics and the disappeared for Syria and was designed in response to specific recommendations which emerged at the first held in November 2013 . Participants included lawyers, medical doctors and representatives of informal associations and NGOs working on investigation and documentation inside Syria, from Aleppo, Damascus and its surrounding country-side and Idlib, as well as defected Syrian police officers based in Turkey .

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Libya: NPWJ promotes Transitional Justice awareness at Tripoli University

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the University of Tripoli Students Union organised a series of meetings with the students and professors of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tripoli in the framework of its program on Transitional Justice (TJ) in Libya. The aim of the Colloquiums was to engage the students in discussions on issues that are relevant in a transitioning Libya, to encourage them to participate in this crucial moment and to raise awareness about different transitional justice experiences around the world. The 50 participants engaged in productive and vibrant discussions on various aspects of Transitional Justice over each of the four days over which the colloquiums were held.

The series of colloquiums focused on the following topics: possible TJ mechanisms and their application in Libya; humanitarian situation of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Libya; Transitional Justice and the Constitutional process ; and concluded with a role-play exercise on the role of the youth in the transitional process.

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 NPWJ on Radio Radicale

Have Breakfast with No Peace Without Justice


No Peace Without Justice and Radio Radicale, the foremost Italian nationwide all-news radio, have an ongoing partnership to provide news and information on our activities to a broad Italian audience. This partnership features an in-depth weekly program on NPWJ’s current campaigns and activities. The program is broadcast in Italian every Friday morning immediately before the main news summary.

The last episodes have focused on issues related to MENA Democracy. Gianluca Eramo, NPWJ MENA Coordinator, presented an overview on NPWJ work on Syria, while Stefano Moschini and Giulia Cappellazzi, Coordinator and assitant of NPWJ LIbya team, discussed from tripoli the Libyan political situation and instability. Alvilda Jablonko presented the conference organised on 6 February in Djibouti, on the occasion of the International day of Zero Tolerance to FGM. Finally, Carla Taibi provided information about the NPWJ Human Rights Award 2014 and its ceremony to be held on 3 March 2014 in Rome.


Listen to the episodes


 NPWJ press releases

The “No Peace Without Justice Human Rights Award” 2014
Rome, 20 February 2014

The Radical Party convenes an international conference on "Raison d'état" and Human Rights at the European Parliament
Brussels, European Parliament, 18-19 February 2014

Bahraini Uprising’s third anniversary: accountability for past and present human rights violations must take centre stage
By Niccoló Figa-Talamanca*, 15 February 2014

Syria: NPWJ concludes second Training Course on “Forensic Investigations of Cases of Political Violence and the Disappeared”
Gaziantep, Turkey, 14 February 2014

Libya: NPWJ promotes Transitional Justice awareness at Tripoli University
Tripoli, 9 February 2014

Syria / Geneva II Conference: NPWJ adresses open letter to the UN Permanent Representatives
Brussels, 7 February 2014

Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation: High Level Meeting in Djibouti to foster the implementation of the UN resolution
Djibouti, 6 February 2014

Bangladesh: International Lawyers submit evidence to ICC Prosecutor over serious crimes allegedly committed by government forces
Brussels, 4 February 2014

“#SGBV in #SYRIA”: NPWJ concludes second training on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Gaziantep, Turkey - 1 February 2014

 NPWJ in the news

Djibouti hosts regional anti-FGM Conference
By Mohamed Taha Tawakel, Anadolu Agency, 7 February 2014

Moving beyond the ICC impasse
By Lisa Clifford, Irin, 7 February 2014

Bonino in Djibouti: genital mutilation, tragedy that also touches West
By Ministero degli Affari Esteri, 6 February 2014

Somalia: Somali Leaders Push to End Female Genital Mutilation
By AllAfrica, 6 February 2014

Mutilazioni femminili, Bonino a Gibuti: flagello anche in Italia
By TM News, 6 February 2014

Allarme della Bonino, anche in Occidente mutilazioni genitali
By AGI, 6 February 2014

Queiq river massacre in Syria commemorated in İstanbul
Lamiya Adilgizi & Julia Nho, Today's Zaman (Istanbul), 29 January 2014

Those who’ve fled Syria want only one result from Geneva, an end to Assad’s rule
By Roy Gutman (McClatchy Foreign Staff), Star Telegram, 29 January 2014

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